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The Hypocrisy of Civilized Society as a Major Theme in Huckleberry Finn - Research Paper Example

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Instructor name Date The Hypocrisy of “Civilized” Society One of America's favorite writers, Mark Twain, was actually named Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He was born in 1835 in Florida, Missouri and lived a normal childhood until his father died when Samuel was just 12 years old…
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The Hypocrisy of Civilized Society as a Major Theme in Huckleberry Finn

Download file to see previous pages... It's also where he gained a lot of the experience he would need to create The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Although these were essentially children's stories, Twain had a tendency to create stories with a much deeper meaning underneath the charm and the humor. He encouraged his readers to plunge the depths of their understanding and adapt their behavior to a more accurate reflection of their inner beliefs (Railton, 2007). In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain blatantly criticizes the hypocrisy of 'civilized' society as he ridicules religion, satirizes education, criticizes slavery, and exposes aristocratic characters. Twain Ridicules Religion Religion was a particular sore spot with Twain and he expresses his disdain of it through the characters of the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. These poor ladies remain obediently devout through everything, without seeming to realize that their belief structures are almost entirely contradictory. Huck sums it up when he's out thinking in the woods, "I judged I could see that there was two Providences, and a poor chap would stand considerable show with the widow’s Providence, but if Miss Watson’s got him there warn’t no help for him any more" (23). ...
Even though the families sit calmly together in church, the feud begins again the moment they step foot off of church property: "The men took their guns along, so did Buck…The Shepherdsons done the same. It was pretty ornery preaching- all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness;” (129), but the families don't hear any of it. Even with the church pleading with them to put aside their fight, it is the feud rather than the church that has the greatest influence on them. “Worse than the mindless, inherited pattern of the feud, however, is the fact that it serves no purpose, since the original cause of the conflict long has been forgotten.” (Wright 90). This experience has a profound effect on Huck's later decisions. When it comes time for Huck to decide whether to turn in his friend Jim as a runaway slave, Huck decides it would be better to go to hell. “I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’- and tore it up” (223). “Huck's justly celebrated crisis of conscience, which culminates in his resolve to free Jim, even if doing so condemns him to hell” (Smith 8) is made a bit easier by his understanding of how others observed their religion. Twain Satirizes Education It is an indication of his depth of satire that Twain uses Huck, an almost completely uneducated narrator, to point out the depth of society's corruption including its failures within the educational system. He doesn't see much use for it in any of his interactions with others. For example, Tom ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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